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Fellowships

Questions and Answers

Table of Contents

F31—NRSA Individual Predoctoral Fellowship to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research

F32—NRSA Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship

General

Read the questions and answers below or see the Table of Contents above.

Where can I find basic information about fellowships?

Find basic information and advice on our Training and Career portal, Advice on Research Training and Career Awards tutorial, and our central page for Fellowship Grants (F).

Does NIH's public access policy apply to fellowships?

Yes. For more information, read the Public Access of Publications SOP.

Can I have more than one sponsor?

Yes. Sometimes it is advisable to have a second sponsor, especially if the project requires special expertise.

What is the maximum number of years for which fellows can receive NRSA support?

Fellows can receive no more than five years' aggregate NRSA support at the predoctoral level and no more than three years' aggregate support at the postdoctoral level. This includes any combination of support from NRSA institutional research training grants and individual fellowships.

Anyone seeking an exception to the maximum period of support must obtain a waiver from NIAID. See the NIH Grants Policy Statement for full details.

Does NIH streamline fellowship applications?

Yes. For more on initial peer review, read Writing a Fellowship Application.

Should I submit my application electronically?

Yes. See the Fellowship Grants SOP for details.

How do I sign my application?

Fellows and sponsors don't sign fellowship applications, progress reports, and prior approval requests. Instead, institutions have to keep your signature assurances on file.

You still sign other fellowship forms: activation notices, termination notices, payback agreements, and annual payback activities certification.

Do I need to include a plan for instruction in responsible research conduct?

Yes. Read the Responsible Conduct of Research: Training SOP for more information.

Where can I find information on reference letters, like when they're due?

Start with the following references:

Reference letters are due by your application's receipt date, though NIH accepts them any time sooner.

Can I send in materials post-submission?

Yes. Learn more at Sending Materials Post-Submission in our Advice on Research Training and Career Awards.

May a co-sponsor write a reference letter?

No. According to the Individual Fellowship Application Guide, an applicant's sponsor may not write a reference letter. Since the sponsor and co-sponsor have similar roles, the co-sponsor is held to the same restrictions.

What expenses are allowed on fellowships?

The Allowable and Unallowable Costs section of the NIH Grants Policy Statement addresses allowed expenses for both institutional allowance and tuition and fees. In a nutshell, here's what it states:

Institutional allowance

The type of sponsoring institution determines the costs that may be charged to this category.

For example, the allowance for nonfederal public or private nonprofit institutions can defray expenses such as research supplies, equipment, travel to scientific meetings, and health insurance. It can also offset, as much as possible, appropriate administrative costs of training.

Tuition and Fees

Costs associated with tuition and fees are allowed only if they are for specific courses required for the training. Note that health insurance is not included since it's part of the institutional allowance.

For fellowships, could the purchase of computers, laptops, or tablets be considered allowable direct costs? 

These purchases would be allowable expenses when purchased with facilities and administrative costs (F&A) costs. Whether they are allowable direct costs on a fellowship grant is up to your institution. Check with your office of sponsored programs to determine your institution's policy. 

Can stipends be used to pay for tuition, books, and fees?

See Can stipends be used to pay for tuition, books, and fees? on Salaries and Stipends questions and answers.

May I carry over remaining institutional allowances for a fellowship to the next budget period?

Generally, fellowships do not have carryover authority, and NIAID does not usually allow carryover since we expect grantees to use all of the institutional allowance in the year that it was awarded. Grantees can always make a formal request, but there is no guarantee that we will approve it.

To find out how to request carryover, see our Carryover Requests SOP.

Is there a way to submit NRSA forms online?

Yes. Read Submitting Your Fellowship Forms, Contacting NIAID in Advice on Research Training and Career Awards.

Should I include a budget in my noncompeting grant progress report?

No. Fellowships do not require a budget.

Do I need to submit an Inclusion Enrollment Form in my progress report?

You must provide the Inclusion Enrollment form only if you participated in research involving human subjects not reported in the progress report of another PHS-supported project.

If you are conducting clinical research, you must report the annual cumulative enrollment of subjects and their distribution by sex/gender and ethnicity/race using the Inclusion Enrollment Report. The Inclusion Enrollment Report is not included in the two-page summary limit.

How do I send my progress report?

Submit it through the eRA Commons using NIH's Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR).

For more information about progress reporting, read Understand the Annual Progress Report in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

F31—NRSA Individual Predoctoral Fellowship to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research

Read the questions and answers below or see the Table of Contents above.

Do I have to be part of an underrepresented racial or ethnic group to apply for an Individual Predoctoral Fellowship to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research (F31)?

See Do I have to be part of an underrepresented racial or ethnic group to apply for an Individual Predoctoral Fellowship to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research (F31)? in our Special Populations questions and answers.

Does the underrepresented group I must be part of to be eligible for an F31 include women? What are other eligibility requirements?

Women are not considered to be underrepresented in biomedical research. Also, the F31 funding opportunity announcement does not include women in the groups of which it is particularly interested in encouraging the recruitment and retention. See Eligibility Information in the FOA.

As for other eligibility information, consult the FOA as well as:

Can I revise and resubmit my F31 application? When are resubmissions due?

According to the Executive Summary in the F31 program announcement, you can resubmit.

NIH allows investigators who have not succeeded in getting funded to resubmit an unsolicited application once. For more information, see our Application Resubmissions SOP.

As for due dates, go to Standard Due Dates for Competing Applications. New, renewal, and resubmissions are due April 13, August 13, and December 13. Submit your application electronically. See the Fellowship Grants SOP for more information.

To finish my thesis and two papers, must I continue writing from my institution, or can I do so from another location (including another country) and receive my award?

You may go elsewhere to write if your mentor approves. You don't need NIH approval if no money is involved. However, you should contact your grants management specialist if you are leaving your institution and are continuing to receive NIH funds.

F32—NRSA Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship

Read the questions and answers below or see the Table of Contents above.

I had prior NRSA support on another fellowship from another agency. Am I eligible for an NRSA Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship (F32)?

Fellows may receive up to three years of aggregate NRSA support at the postdoctoral level, including any combination of support from institutional training grants and individual fellowship awards.

If you will have one year of support on an NRSA Institutional Research Training Grant (T32) by the time an NRSA Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship (F32) is funded, does that mean that in the F32 application, you should propose only two years of work?

Yes. Fellows may receive up to three years of aggregate Kirschstein-NRSA support at the postdoctoral level. For additional details, see What is the maximum number of years for which fellows can receive NRSA support? above.

Can I include my time spent teaching as an activity for my F32 application?

Yes.

Can I pursue my postdoctoral training at a foreign institution?

Yes. With an NRSA Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship (F32), you may go abroad for your training. See Fellowships for more information.

How many years of support can postdoctoral fellows receive?

Three years is the maximum for an F32.

At the end of an F32 grant, may a fellow take equipment (i.e., laptop computer) purchased with the award?

Generally, the grantee institution decides what to do with supplies and equipment purchased for research purposes.

But check with your business office to see what your institution does since different institutions are subject to different rules from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), called cost principles.

For more information, read the equipment and supplies section of the NIH Grants Policy Statement. Also see OMB's Grants Management Circulars and the Code of Federal Regulation's 45 CFR 74.35 and 45 CFR 74.34.

What if my question wasn't answered here, or I'd like to suggest a question?

Try our central page for Fellowship Grants (F), Advice on Research Training and Career Awards tutorial, and the main Training and Career Awards and Fellowships questions and answers page.

If you still need help, email deaweb@niaid.nih.gov with the title of this page or its URL and your question or comment. We answer questions by email and post them here. Thanks for helping us clarify and expand our knowledge base.

Last Updated April 02, 2014

Last Reviewed January 09, 2014